Lake Tahoe Water Trail

The Lake Tahoe Water Trail (Water Trail) is a 72-mile water route along the shoreline segmented into seven Day Trips, including more than 30 public launch and landing sites or “trailheads,” paddle route itineraries, and navigation tools to help paddlers have a safe and fun adventure. 

Lake Tahoe water temperature is always frigid, even on the hottest days of summer. 

  • Beware of cold water shock and hypothermia
  • Pay attention to changing wind and weather conditions
  • Wear your SUP leash
  • Carry a whistle and flashlight
  • ALWAYS wear your life jacket!

Gliding through its world-famous crystalline waters, paddlers experience the rich treasures of Lake Tahoe, like calm mirror-flat mornings, 360 degree vistas of snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains, historic sites such as the Thunderbird Lodge, Vikingsholm and Ehrman Mansion, and access to beautiful sandy public beaches. Whether you’re looking to access waterfront attractions, historic sites, bird watching sanctuaries, picnics on the beach or a lakeside bistro, you’ll find it along the Water Trail. 

As the only paddling source for Lake Tahoe, the website –  - and Water Trail maps include paddle routes to match your ability levels, paddle shops, water safety and aquatic invasive species prevention tips.  Seven Day Trip Maps include details about parking, on-site facilities and amenities, as well as public beach access to nearby hiking trails, restaurants, shopping, historic sites, lodging and campgrounds.  The Day Trip Maps are free to download from the Water Trail website.

Every mountain mariner, non-motorized and motorized, should own a Water Trail Map & Guide.  Waterproof and tear resistant, this large (24” x 37”) 4-color map includes underwater and land topography, latitude/longitude coordinates, GPS waypoints, and a detailed listing of shoreline services and points of interest for Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake to help boaters navigate our water world. The Map & Guide can be found at Lake Tahoe locations and paddle shops listed on

While gazing at it from land is breathtaking, life changes once you get on Lake Tahoe. The Water Trail helps paddlers understand the interconnected relationship between man and nature, and how to safely navigate and protect Lake Tahoe’s pristine watershed.

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Latitude: 39.1726587 Longitude: -120.1293182 Elevation: 6233 ft

Best Access Points

The LTWT can be accessed from more than 30 public launch/landing sites around Lake Tahoe. Public boat launches and beaches are all highlighted on the Lake Tahoe Water Trail printed map, available at locations around the lake and paddle shops.

Some recommended locations for easy access and parking:

NORTH SHORE: Tahoe Vista Boat Launch Facility, Tahoe Vista - Public launch facility, restrooms, parking, kayak rentals; Patton Landing Public Beach and Cartop Launch, Carnelian Bay - Public launch facility, restrooms, parking, kayak rentals, picnic facilities; Lake Forest Boat Ramp, Tahoe City - Public launch facility, parking, restrooms

EAST SHORE: Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, Sand Harbor - Public launch facility, restrooms, parking, kayak rentals, picnic facilities; Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, Cave Rock - Public launch facility, restrooms, parking, picnic facilities

SOUTH SHORE: Zephyr Cove Resort - Public launch facility, restrooms, restaurant, food and supplies, campground and lodging, kayak rentals; El Dorado Beach and Boat Launch (Lakeview Commons), South Lake Tahoe - Public launch facility, restrooms, parking, kayak rentals, picnic facilities; USFS Baldwin Beach, South Lake Tahoe - Public beach, restrooms, parking, kayak rentals, picnic facilities. Best kayak and canoe access to Emerald Bay.

WEST SHORE: D.L. Bliss State Park - Public beach, campground, restrooms, parking, trails, picnic facilities; Kaspian Picnic Area - public public beach, restrooms, picnic facilities, public pier, campground across the street.

Eco-Friendly Notes

Lake Tahoe requires a special level of care and stewardship to ensure its natural wonders and character are preserved for future generations. In addition to practicing principles of "Leave No Trace," all boaters on Lake Tahoe must pay vigilant attention to preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species. Stringent regulations are in place requiring boaters to have vessels inspected for Quagga Mussels and other aquatic invasive species that can permanently destroy the lake.

Please adhere to these requirements. it only takes one person to spoil it all..don't be the one. For more information please visit

ADA Accessibility Notes

Most of the publicly owned and operated launch facilities around Lake Tahoe are ADA accessible as are the private businesses catering to visitors.


This has got to be one of the coolest places on earth. As soon as I get my car paid off we are heading over. It is an all year thing or just during the summer months?

Jordan, 12/3/2012

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